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Lightning Network Render is Blank
Posted: 16 July 2012 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I was so proud of myself setting up 7 computers to render an animation with Bryce Lightning 2. Everything seemed to be working. I could see the tiles listed and percentages of completion as each frame was rapidly rendered. No error messages or warning icons. The file size on my drive was appropriate for the duration of the movie when finished. BUT when I viewed the movie nothing was visible, not even sky. Just a blank gray screen about the shade of this forum’s background. I tried another test on a single frame. Same results. The animation renders fine on my “server” outside of the network render environment, but takes a very long time because of complexity.

I would really like to use Lightning to speed up my renders. What am I missing?

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Posted: 16 July 2012 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This is strange indeed. I have no experience with lightning but people do use it to speed up their Bryce renders. Hopefully Horo will chime in with some advice.

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Posted: 17 July 2012 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have never network rendered animations, only stills. What I experienced at some times was an incomplete blue-only render. It turned out that the scene was very memory intensive and one of the clients had not enough memory. I suggest to render only one or a very few frames, this might help you find the problem without losing too much time. You may start with excluding one client, then another since the render is fine on the hosting machine.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I thought of that, Horo, and just rendered with my primary computer on just one frame. The Bryce Lightning 7 (not 2 as I said earlier) render was still a flat gray. When I render directly within Bryce, everything is there. I think it might be a file header issue - that some vital code is not being written which is preventing the image from displaying. Time to ask Bryce Support for help, I guess.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If I understand you correctly, you started the Lightning client on your hosting machine from which you start the network render, but have no other client running.


This is indeed the most fundamental test. If this doesn’t work, we have an issue. How about rendering not an animation but just a still? We could then determine whether animation is the problem. The more we can exclude, the better. We have already excluded all clients except one - and this computer can render the animation if it is not using Lightning.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Tried a single bmp with the camera pointed away from any object - just sky and water. Easy render in Bryce, blank gray in Lightning.


Next test: I created a new Bryce file with a single gray cube, gray ground, sky. Did a network render on my machine - it worked! I created a 3 sec animation moving the cube up > again > network render and added 2 more computers > it worked. I must be hitting some ceiling in Lightning with my complex file. There are 812 objects with 10391442 polygons, water, trees, fog.

I have successfully rendered my animation the hard way but it took 4 days to render 40 secs @ 20 fps, or 800 frames.

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Posted: 18 July 2012 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Glad to hear that you have success. There may be an incompatibility in the original file. Now since you mention it, I remember having had once such a scene that wouldn’t network render correctly (still in Bryce 6). I removed object after object until only the ground plane was left. Removed this one too and started to remove clouds from the sky and whatnot. It never rendered correctly on the network. Reporting such a bug is useless because you cannot debug it. There was absolutely no handle with nothing in the scene. This only happened once to me.

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Posted: 23 July 2012 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Horo, your experience might be what is happening with my file. With all the work, revisions, etc., I wouldn’t be surprised that some corruption happened somewhere. Fortunately, I was able to get my video rendered the hard, slow way. Since Lightning worked on my small test, I conclude it isn’t a bug with the program and just a less than perfect file of mine.

Thanks for your willingness to help and your insight.
Rob Lamb

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Posted: 24 July 2012 01:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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You’re most welcome, Rob. That’s what this forum is here for: to help each other as we can.

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